May 21, 2009 by Big Tony
Game two of the Eastern Conference Finals had a bit more intensity than the first and the contest was much closer than the 7-4 final indicates. The result of this game gives Pittsburgh a 2-0 series lead but the big story on Thursday night was the play of Evgeni Malkin. The Pittsburgh superstar took over the game in the third period scoring two goals in a row including a magnificent backhanded top-shelf goal right off of the face off deep in Carolina’s zone that broke this otherwise tight game wide open. These are the things that separates superstars from the other great players; not only did Malkin break the game open, he stole momentum away from Carolina almost completely and scored his third goal unassisted and in an incredible manner. Nothing should be taken away from the rest of the team—including Marc-Andre Fleury who looked a little rattled early on but made some key saves at the end of the game—but this night belonged to Evgeni Malkin who helped make Cam Ward look human. Now the Penguins have a chance to smother Carolina by taking a 3-0 series lead as the teams shift to Raleigh for game three. Pittsburgh is not likely to take the series for granted at this point as the Canes have been resilient all season long and the Penguins won the previous round after going down 2-0 to Washington. On Saturday night the fans will be rocking the RBC Center and the Canes will not go away without a fight.